Board of Directors

Volunteer leadership of the ALS Canada 2023/2024 Board of Directors.

Founder: Arthur J. Hudson

Select each board member to learn more about them.

Richard Ellis, Chair

Twenty years ago, Richard Ellis lost his best friend, Cathy Payne, to ALS. She was diagnosed at the age of 40 and lost her fight before she was 42. Cathy’s journey changed Richard, her family and her friends forever. They learned what it took to face a debilitating disease with strength, courage, and humour. From the time of Cathy’s diagnosis Richard became involved with ALS Canada, joining the Board of Directors in 2020.

With more than 30 years of international business experience, Richard’s global perspective makes him uniquely qualified as an executive coach, a trusted advisor to senior executives, and a strategic business thought-partner. He established Ellis Strategy Group in 2019, specializing in executive coaching, reputation management strategies, change management and business transformation, diversity and inclusion strategies, cross-cultural communications, and leadership development programs.

As Vice-President of Global Corporate Relations at McDonald’s Corporation, Richard led McDonald’s Corporate Relations function across more than 25 countries worldwide. Prior to joining McDonald’s, Richard was President & Chief Executive Officer of Weber Shandwick Worldwide (Canada) Inc., one of the world’s leading communications and public relations consultancies.

Richard is a noted Diversity, Equity & Inclusion leader, strategist, and facilitator. He was a founding member of McDonald’s Corporation’s Global Diversity Council, he established and led McDonald’s USA’s inaugural LGBTQ employee resource group, and he created McDonald’s Canada’s diversity function. An active champion and advocate of inclusivity, Richard was recognized as Canadian Diversity Champion by Women of Influence magazine.

Richard is an experienced board director and governance expert. He is past Chairman and current member of the Board of Directors of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Canada. He is a member of the Advisory Committee of Humber College’s Bachelor of Public Relations Program. Richard is a former Advisory Board member of the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research, member of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards National Committee, and Co-chair of The Sandbox Project.

Alyssa Barry

Alyssa is a Principal and Co-Founder at irlabs. She has more than 15 years of investor relations, capital markets, and corporate communications experience. An activist by nature, she has raised over $1 billion of capital, led some of Canada’s most successful activism campaigns, managed merger and acquisition transactions and enhanced board governance frameworks. She was formerly Head of Strategy – Operations and Communications at Artis REIT, Vice-President of Capital Markets and Communications at Sandpiper Group, and Manager of Investor Relations at Amica Mature Lifestyles Inc. She is known for her agility, creativity, and relentless pursuit of success for her clients.

Alyssa’s uncle passed away from ALS and she has committed to doing whatever she can to ensure that everyone touched by ALS is treated with dignity and respect and receives the support they deserve.

Ken Chan

Ken brings leadership experience from the private, non-profit, and public sectors to the Board of Directors of ALS Canada. He is Chief Administrative Officer at Victoria University in the University of Toronto. Ken’s previous roles include Assistant Deputy Minister in the Ontario Government, Vice President at Brock University, Public Affairs Director at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and Vice President at Cystic Fibrosis Canada. He also worked in the United Kingdom, at London City Hall, and the British Department for Business. Earlier in his career, Ken was an officer with Peel Regional Police.

Ken lost his father to ALS. The opportunity to contribute as a volunteer leader is one small way he sees that he can make a difference in the fight against this debilitating disease.

An experienced director, Ken serves on the boards of Alterna Savings, Alterna Bank, Open For Business, and Pathstone Foundation. His prior board experience included roles in the health, education, and culture. He holds an ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors.

Ken holds an Executive Master’s in Management Research from ESCP Business School, a Master of Forensic Accounting from the University of Toronto, an MBA from the City University of Seattle, and a BA from Simon Fraser University. He is currently a Global Executive PhD candidate at ESCP Business School.

Lisa Flaifel

Lisa Flaifel is a dynamic leader recognized for building high-performance teams in the healthcare industry. For the past 15 years, she has worked at Bayer, where she is currently Vice-President and Global Head of New Business Development and Radiology. Lisa is a strategic change agent with a strong sense of direction and focus in translating corporate vision into team goals. With robust experience in strategic brand marketing, sales, and team leadership, she is known by her colleagues as an inspiring, collaborative, and strategic cross-functional partner who finds solutions to complex business problems.

In the span of a few short years, during Lisa’s early adulthood, both her father and brother-in-law were diagnosed with and eventually succumbed to ALS. As a family member who was intimately involved in caregiving, planning of resources and support, and navigating her family’s emotional journey as well as her own, the experience completely changed Lisa. She was inspired to take action by joining ALS Canada’s Board of Directors in 2020.

Elizabeth Gandolfi

Elizabeth Gandolfi is a bank executive with nearly two decades of experience in financial services. She is currently the Senior Vice-President, Client Solutions at Canadian Western Bank, and prior to this she spent 17 years at Scotiabank holding diverse and progressively senior roles.

Elizabeth’s father passed away from ALS in April 2020 at the height of the pandemic. She knows firsthand the physical, emotional, and financial burdens of people living with ALS, their family, friends, and caregivers. Since her father’s passing, Elizabeth has found purpose in being a part of a team that serves diverse populations, geographical locations, and employs different approaches to solving complex challenges associated with ALS.

Over her career, Elizabeth has led and participated in several enterprise-wide business improvement and growth initiatives and successfully put in place new organizational structures, delivery models and program improvements in order to drive superior customer and employee experiences. She has extensive experience in finance and analytics, operations and contact centres, including digital innovation, sales and distribution. She is highly skilled in strategy and organizational change management associated with major business transformation projects.

Elizabeth is a longstanding community builder and a passionate leader and mentor developing and coaching talent and supporting our youth. For a number of years, she has volunteered with Junior Achievement of Canada, and was a Board Member with the Haliburton Club, Scouts Canada. She also has strong ties to the United Way Greater Toronto and their respective agency partners.

Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting & Finance from Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University) and has completed the Executive Strategic Analytics Program at Queen’s University. She is an avid swimmer, loves to cook and spend time outdoors with her husband, their four children and their dog.

Laura Gay

Laura Gay is a Chartered Professional Accountant who received her CPA and CA in 2010 after graduating with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. She has held positions at a national public accounting firm and then in the Finance Department at her alma mater St. FX. Currently, Laura is a Partner at Stern Cohen Accountants where she provides audit and tax guidance to many not-for-profit and charitable organizations in the Greater Toronto Area.

Laura is a non-profit industry expert, speaking at conferences and leading seminars. Outside of work, Laura is a competitive rower and is dedicated to making a difference in her community.

In 2017, Laura was appointed to the Board of Directors of ALS Canada and a year later appointed Chair, Finance and Audit Committee

Dr. Angela Genge

Dr. Angela Genge has been the Executive Director of the Clinical Research Unit at the Montreal Neurological Institute since 2004. Since 2020, she has also served as Chief Medical Officer for QurAlis and Scientific Director of CATALIS. Her expertise and groundbreaking work in the introduction of innovative therapies in the rare disease space has led her to be a sought-after member of numerous advisory boards for companies developing therapies for these diseases.

Dr. Genge is the Director of The Neuro’s (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) ALS clinical program and multidisciplinary clinic, and she is a neuromuscular neurologist. Throughout her career, Dr. Genge has received numerous awards, most recently the 2018 Forbes Norris Award, the DIVA of Distinction Award, and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Dr. Leslie Green

Dr. Leslie (Les) Green is Professor Emeritus in the Law Faculty at Queen’s University and at the University of Oxford. A widely published expert in human rights, ethics, and constitutional theory, he has served on the boards of educational and cultural organizations in Canada and the UK. As a law professor by trade, specializing in human rights and ethics, the two issues come up in almost every aspect of the work ALS Canada does: from how research is conducted, to how drugs are regulated and how healthcare is provided.

Les is a resident of Toronto and lives with ALS. Within a couple of weeks of his diagnosis, ALS Canada was there for Les, and still is.

Jude Groves

Jude Groves has several years’ experience in health and safety within the transportation industry taking on various leadership roles. He is currently the Vice-President, Safety, Compliance, Injury Prevention and Training for the Kenan Advantage Group. Jude has also been a part of several boards, committees, and working groups including as Chair of the Board for the Alberta Motor Transport Association. Jude lives in Alberta and has two young children. He enjoys travelling with his wife and exploring both on and off the beaten path around Canada and beyond, capturing moments along the way with his photography.

In late 2021, Jude’s father was diagnosed with ALS, and their family has experienced a rather rapid onset of the disease since. The personal impacts of ALS on Jude’s family are what led him to volunteer, asking what he could do to support an organization that has been pivotal in supporting his family through a trying journey.

Dr. Wendy Johnston

Dr. Wendy Johnston first established a multidisciplinary ALS clinic in Portland Oregon in 1993, serving as its director until 2000. Relocating to the University of Alberta Neurology Division the same year, she started the multidisciplinary ALS clinic in Edmonton, Alberta, where she has served as Director ever since.

Dr. Johnston is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Alberta. She has published more than 70 peer-reviewed publications in the fields of neurology, palliative care, end-of-life care, and health communication, focusing on ALS and other neurological diseases. She served as Co-Chair, Chair and Past Chair of the Canadian ALS Clinical Research Network and has served as a member of the Board of Directors and Scientific Advisory Panel for ALS Canada. She currently has four active research grants and more than 10 industry-sponsored clinical trials active at the Edmonton ALS Clinic.

Patrick Nelson

Headshot of Patrick Nelson, Co-Chair Client Services Advisory Council and ALS Canada Board of Directors

Patrick is currently a Principal and Partner at Santis Health, a Toronto-based health care consultancy. He brings over 15 years of public affairs and communications experience to the team at Santis Health.

Patrick helps health care associations, organizations, and companies adapt to the changing health care environment, influence government policy, and improve their engagement with members and stakeholders. He is an expert in strategic communications, government relations, public affairs and in board governance. Since 2014, Patrick has also served as the Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants.

Prior to Santis Health, Patrick served as the Executive Director of Public and Corporate Affairs at the Ontario Medical Association (OMA), the voice of the province’s 34,000 physicians. From 1998 to 2003, Patrick worked in senior communications roles in the Ontario government.

Patrick also volunteers his time as a member of the Board of Trustees at the Hincks-Dellcrest Centre, the largest children’s mental health treatment facility in Toronto. In recognition of his work, Hincks-Dellcrest presented him with an Award of Appreciation for his work in getting additional funding from government to support services for kids with mental illness, for whom his mother was a tireless advocate.

Patrick lost his mother to ALS. She instilled in him the importance of volunteerism and giving back to their community. Working with the ALS Canada team is very rewarding for Patrick personally, but it is also an opportunity to give back, share his expertise, and to follow his mother’s lead.

Kris Noakes

ALS has greatly impacted Kris Noakes and her family across generations, and they continue to live with the disease and hope for a future without ALS.

Kris is a citizen of the Anishinabek Nation, a member of Nipissing First Nation and a community advocate at the municipal, provincial and federal levels. Her diverse experience includes leading a non-governmental organization building Indigenous services in the Greater Toronto Area. Kris has also supported community initiatives through public appointments on the City of Mississauga and City of Brampton’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committees and the Museums of Mississauga Advisory Committee. Kris has served as a member of the Region of Peel’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy Community Advisory Board (CAB), the First Nations, Métis and Inuit Advisory Circle for the Peel District School Board (PDSB), the Toronto Area Education Leads for the Indigenous Education Office of Ministry of Education, and as a Director for the Art Gallery of Mississauga.

Kris currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors and Treasurer for the Hamilton Community Legal Clinic and is an appointed member of the Federal Judicial Advisory Committee for the GTA. She is also a member of ALS Canada’s Revolution Ride Committee and a member of 100 Women Who Care.

Dr. Chantelle F. Sephton

Dr. Chantelle F. Sephton received her Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon and her PhD in Psychiatry from the University of Saskatchewan. She completed her postdoctoral studies at the University of Texas (UT) Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas under the mentorship of Dr. Gang Yu in the Department of Neuroscience. She started her lab at Université Laval in the CERVO Brain Research Centre in 2014 and is currently an Associate Professor in the department of psychiatry and neuroscience.

Dr. Sephton’s research interests are focused on the mechanism of action of post-transcriptional regulation of RNA by RNA-binding proteins. Several RNA-binding proteins including TDP-43 and FUS are mutated in some patients with familial ALS. Mutations in these proteins result in their cytoplasmic mislocalization and aggregation, which are thought to contribute to neurodegeneration in these diseases. Stemming from her post-doctoral work and the discovery of the biological functions of disease-linked RNA-binding proteins, her current work now focuses on understanding the mechanisms by which disease-associated mutations of TDP-43 and FUS influence RNA metabolism and how this may lead to neurodegeneration.

Dr. Michael Spivock

Dr. Michael (Mike) Spivock is a behavioural scientist in public health and an executive in the Canadian federal public service. Over his 16-year career with the Government of Canada, he has worked mainly in health and fitness research with the Canadian Armed Forces, though he recently held a leadership role on Health Canada’s COVID-19 Taskforce from 2020-2022. Mike also holds a faculty position as Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Ottawa, where he supervises graduate students, in addition to teaching courses in Public Health and Research Methods.

Mike’s father was diagnosed with ALS in 2013. Like many loved ones of people with ALS, he felt helpless watching his father lose his ability to function. After his father passed away in 2016, Mike saw the opportunity to turn his sorrow into action by joining the Board of Directors of ALS Canada, doing his part to ensure a future where no other family has to experience what his lived through.

Craig Storey

Craig Storey holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Industrial) from Dalhousie University (formerly Technical University of Nova Scotia), ICD.D, Directors Education Program (DEP) from Institute of Corporate Directors & Rotman School of Business and an Immersion Certificate from Cégep de Ste. Foy, Quebec City, Quebec. He has spent his career building stronger companies, typically in the Tech sector. Craig has extensive expertise in business development, mergers and acquisitions, product management, sales, marketing and channel management, enterprise software/SaaS, customer service, and change management.

Craig has held several executive management positions in both the public and private sector. Previous roles included Chief Commercial Officer for Atlantic Lottery; President of Mariner Innovations; President of SHIFT Energy (a Mariner company); Vice-President, National Sales and Business Development for FCT; Vice-President and General Manager for Innovatia; and several other Management positions with NBTel (now Bell Aliant).

Over his career Craig has also provided volunteer services in several non-profit and community-based organizations including United Way, Tech-Impact, City of Moncton Anti-Poverty and Social Inclusion committee and Basketball Coach.